Weaning off a nipple shield

(8 Posts)
Honkyponk Sun 30-Dec-12 18:53:41

Tres difficult! I used shields whilst my nipples healed - open wounds after a tongue tied baby chomped on them. The healing took six weeks and it has taken a further two months to wean her off them. I offered just boob without shield at each feed, but immediately put them on if she fussed. If feeding going well with shield, after a while I would quickly take it off and relatch LO. The were good days and bad, and I found it easier to just take it easy and not worry about it, even though I really wanted to get rid of the shields. Eventually, there was a day when she just didn't need them. So I would recommend just keep going I thought it wouldn't happen, then it just did.
Good luck

Londonmrss Sun 30-Dec-12 12:32:59

Thank you for sharing your stories- I guess I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and hope for the best. Never thought this breastfeeding business would be so difficult.

Newforestpony Sat 29-Dec-12 22:12:51

Hello Londonmrss,

I also had a little one that I expressed for 2 weeks as he had serious surgery the day after birth. When I tried to bf after 10 days he wouldn't latch on either. It was really hard for us both and we finally succeeded when a night NICU nurse watched us and suggested a shield. It worked a treat, but like you I didn't want to rely on it long term.

You've done all the right things so far and have done so well. I would continue doing what you are and perhaps you'll find that the shield will help shape your nipple for your little one. It did for me. I then started on the shield each feed and removed it part way through. This worked a treat and I was able to get rid of it after about 2 months. Mind you, I wished we were still using it when his teeth came through!!!

It's still worth expressing and feeding by bottle for when you want to go out separately, and also to prepare for when you return to work - rather foolishly I didn't and really struggled to get him onto a bottle & formula. This was made worse because my son didn't eat anything (and I truely mean anything) until he was 15 months old when he finally ate smooth thin custard!!! I went back to work when he was 10 months old so this was rather stressful!

Keep on going - it's great to be able to bf!

thixotropic Sat 29-Dec-12 21:57:38

snatch = unlatch obv.

Sorry for double post.

thixotropic Sat 29-Dec-12 21:56:48

Hi
First, what welove said, you are amazing.

I can only offer you my story,

dd was prem, and had no latch or suck reflex as she was too weak. She was tube fed expressed milk. With the help of an amazing bf coordinator at the scbu we got dd onto feeding direct from breast using nipple shield to give her something to get hold of ( v small nipples)

Like you I was prepared to have to use them for as long as I bf (and we still going at 2.5yo) but I did find them a bloody faff, esp sterilsing, dropping one then not having a clean one to continue etc.

What I did was each feed, when she seemed in an amenable mood was feed with shield for let down, then snatch remove shield and try again.

The key - and you are the expert here - is knowing your baby. You need to move the shield whilst they are still hungry, but not so hungry they will be too distressed to cooperate.

It took us about 2-3 weeks and was so worth it.

The scbu outreach nurse was really surprised we successfuly ditched the shield. And cane round for a chat as to how we'd done it, so I won't pretend it was easy.

Good luck, and pm me if you have any questions I might b able to help. X

thixotropic Sat 29-Dec-12 21:55:34

Hi
First, what welove said, you are amazing.

I can only offer you my story,

dd was prem, and had no latch or suck reflex as she was too weak. She was tube fed expressed milk. With the help of an amazing bf coordinator at the scbu we got dd onto feeding direct from breast using nipple shield to give her something to get hold of ( v small nipples)

Like you I was prepared to have to use them for as long as I bf (and we still going at 2.5yo) but I did find them a bloody faff, esp sterilsing, dropping one then not having a clean one to continue etc.

What I did was each feed, when she seemed in an amenable mood was feed with shield for let down, then snatch remove shield and try again.

The key - and you are the expert here - is knowing your baby. You need to move the shield whilst they are still hungry, but not so hungry they will be too distressed to cooperate.

It took us about 2-3 weeks and was so worth it.

The scbu outreach nurse was really surprised we successfuly ditched the shield. And cane round for a chat as to how we'd done it, so I won't pretend it was easy.

Good luck, and pm me if you have any questions I might b able to help. X

Welovecouscous Sat 29-Dec-12 21:37:05

London you are obviously both very committed and determined - your story is pretty inspiring and I really wonder how many mums would have stuck with bf as you have. Your baby is very lucky!!

Have you tried the breast/nipple sandwich technique to help a baby latch on to flat nipples? This is explained in this LLL article:

www.lalecheleague.org/llleaderweb/lv/lvjunjul00p39.html

The article also explains some ways to help encourage feeding directly without shields:

Lots of skin to skin
Take baths together
No pressure - offering to feed without the shield frequently - every feed - but gently and patiently
Try to latch baby when sleepy so they won't notice the absence of shield
Latching on after the initial let down (starting the feed and removing shield once milk flowing freely)
Trying thinner latex shield first of all (not sure whether you are already using a thin one?)

I would get in touch with your local LLL group if there is one near you so the leader can support you through this. You will need to keep a close eye on baby's weight during the process to check milk intake continues to be efficient.

Sounds like you are determined to keep bf whatever happens with the shields!!

Londonmrss Sat 29-Dec-12 21:09:21

Hello
Here is the background: My Dr was born 9 weeks ago at exactly 40 weeks. I had a long labor, but normal delivery and had immediate skin to skin. It was all lovely, but she didn't latch, apparently because of my flat nipples. I was discharged less than 12 hours later even though she still hadn't latched. I continued to try and fail for the next couple of days and became more and more distressed. I began furiously expressing colostrum and giving her that using a bottle. On day 3 we returned to hospital because she had jaundice and we spent 4 days there. I was still determined to breastfeed so I continued expressing and either finger feeding or bottle feeding. This contributed for about two weeks until I tried using a Medela nipple shield. Suddenly she latched onto it and feed for a few minutes. For several weeks I combined feeding expressed milk and direct breast feeding until the last week when I have been exclusively breast feeding, always using the shield. Although she only feeds for 5 or 10 mins at a time, she is progressing perfectly along the 50th so is getting what she needs.

However sometimes feeds are slightly stressy with her crying a lit and pulling away- I'm not sure if that's normal or not.

I am wondering if it will ever be possible to wean off the shield. I offer the breast without it when she's calm, but she just doesn't find my nipple. Even if I offer it when I've just used my breast pump so my nipple is protruding, she just doesn't find the nipple and doesn't know what to do with it.

If I have to continue using the shield for the rest of my breastfeeding life, then so be it. I've worked too hard at this to give up now. But I wonder if this is the cause of our occasional difficult feeds. And the things are bloody inconvenient and annoying. Incidentally, there is no supply issue (I have far more than she needs sue to the expressing) and the forceful let down is well controlled with pumping and reclined positions.

Any advice would be hugely appreciated- story for the giant post.

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